At what level do the emotions arise?
When we look at Maharshi Raman, Sai Baba, Guru Maharaj or other saints of his time, we find that they reacted to things very differently as compared to us. They are embodiments of eternal peace and calmness. Such a state can come only if you have unprecedented control over your mind, where we feel neither mental nor physical pain.
The mind is just one of the tools given to you. Some call it the sixth organ. The mind is like your car. You drive your car. The car doesn’t drive you. And yet, when you are in the car, there is a moment when moving with the car, you can ask the question – am I my mind? The state of mind becomes the state of you.
To achieve spiritual peace as illustrated in the pyramid in the image above, you keep climbing the pyramid, and the state of mind changes. So, as soon as you cross the Realm of Mind, your mind is under your control rather than you being a slave of the mind. What happens automatically is that your emotions don’t drive you anymore. Your mind that keeps going all over the place, is now at rest and is in your control.
And hence, you are more peaceful. We are looking for peace in how many different places and how many different ways. What is peace? The sages said that peace is about stopping the barrage of thoughts in your mind. As soon as you have control over the thought waves, you have an immense sense of peace actually.
Now suppose you want to buy a car, or plan a wedding or purchase a house. You have a set of requirements associated with them, and you run them in your mind several times. Every single time you achieve something that was running in your head as a to-do, accomplishing the goal or event gives you momentary happiness.
Why is that?
A set of thought waves that were associated with that event stops when the goal is achieved. That gives you happiness. And immediately after a little bit, you get into another thread and that thread goes on and on and on and on, and then when it stops you feel happy again. So, momentary happiness is something that you remember ‘I was in a good place at that time’. Unfortunately, it does not sustain.
Meditation is one of the ways to find the happiness and peace that sustains. I am dealing with a number of things every day, but when I sit down to meditate I suddenly feel so refreshed, so untangled, and uncluttered. That sort of real peacefulness comes out of meditation. Till then it’s a journey.
Once you cross the Realm of Mind through meditation, you are on cruise control.
This is because in the Realm of Knowledge you gain unprecedented power. Thought waves scatter your energy but when you control those waves, your energy converges and you gain unprecedented power. So now you’re able to utilize your brain to do unprecedented acts.
In the 1900s Guru Maharaj had to undergo a painful surgery on a wound. When the doctor came, Guru Maharaj was reading a newspaper and continued to do so through the surgery. He told the doctor, “you do your job, while I’m doing mine.” That ability to dissociate from physical pain is just not possible till you have control over your mind. This happens only when you cross over The Realm of the Mind.
How Does Meditation Help us Be at Peace?
Sometimes when we visit places of worship like temples or churches or cathedrals the feeling is so surreal and peaceful. But the moment we come out, we lose that state.
Here’s how my father, Dr. Narendra Kumar used to describe it.
There are three things – a stone, cotton balls and salt or sugar. They undergo changes albeit differently, after coming into contact with water.
A stone lying in bright sunshine gets heated up. You put it in cold water and it cools down. Take it out from the water and put it back in the sun, it heats up again. The sun is our world and places of worship are the water. We feel contented and at peace in places of worship which are like being in the water. The moment we are back in the world, the sense of peace disappears as we are affected by our surroundings, and it becomes hot again.
Once we start meditating the situation begins to change. Our insides are now like cotton balls. Put them in the sun, they never get as hot as the stone. Put them in cold water, they are soaked. Put them out to dry, it takes quite some time to dry and get back to their original state. If you meditate, you imbibe this energy and absorb this energy like cotton soaked in water. Ability to receive, ability to absorb, and ability to store gets enhanced with practice of Meditation.
Finally, in the third stage through meditation, we relinquish our identity. Just like salt or sugar gave up their identity to become one with water, we surrender our entity to become one with God and find everlasting peace or bliss. This is eternal peace that stays with us irrespective of the external situations.
And that is the journey to find peace.